Cinderella Man: James Braddock, Max Baer, and the Greatest Upset in Boxing History

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  • Written by Jeremy Schaap
  • ISBN 0618551174
  • Format: Hardcover, 324pp
  • Pub. Date: May 2005
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company

Lost in the annals of boxing is the sport's true Cinderella story. James J. Braddock, dubbed 'Cinderella Man' by Damon Runyon, was a once-promising light heavyweight for whom a string of losses in the ring and a broken right hand happened to correspond with the Great Crash. With one good hand, Braddock was forced to labor on the docks of Hoboken while only his manager, Joe Gould, still believed in him. The diminutive, loquacious Jew and the burly, quiet Irishman made one of boxing's oddest couples, but together they staged an impossible comeback. In the span of less than twelve months Braddock went from the relief rolls to face heavyweight champion Max Baer, the Livermore Butcher Boy, notorious for allegedly having killed two men in the ring. A ten-to-one underdog, Braddock carried the hopes and dreams of the working class on his shoulders. And when boxing was the biggest sport in the world, his unlikely upset made him the most popular champion boxing had ever seen.

Against the gritty backdrop of the Depression, Cinderella Man brings this dramatic all-American story to life, evoking a time when the sport of boxing resonated with a country trying desperately to get back on its feet. Schaap paints a vivid picture of the fight world in its golden age - populated by men of every class and ethnic background and covered voluminously by writers who elevated sportswriting to art. Cinderella Man is a classic David and Goliath tale that transcends the sport.